Carolyn Hax: It's normal to be nervous about kids

April 28, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: When my husband and I first started talking about having a baby, he confessed that he is terrified and needed time to get used to the idea. Together, he and I picked a date on the calendar and agreed that would be the day I stopped taking my birth control pills, but that I wouldn't make a huge deal about it because we had discussed it beforehand.

At the time, that date was 1.5 years in the future. Now it's tomorrow! I feel exhilarated, hopeful, excited, and impatient for pregnancy.

Given that we agreed on this ahead of time, can I still go through with it despite knowing my husband still has a lot of the same fears?

IMPATIENTVILLE

You mean, quietly stop using birth control? No, not even when you agreed to do so.

There are no bigger deals in this world than giving and taking life. Tell him you haven't forgotten the agreement - you've merely thought better of forging ahead on a technicality.

Plenty of people, if not most of them, agree to try for children while also harboring varying degrees of terror at the idea. Remind him of that, if it helps. As I've said before, it's the ones without any doubts who surprise me.

Re: Consenting Yet Terrified: I get what you're saying, but I'd never want to reproduce with someone like that. How do you know he's not going to end up resenting his wife and the kid he never wanted? It's too great of a risk.

ANONYMOUS

Not really, not if you've chosen your partner well. A mature and decent person will put his (or her, but using "his" for simplicity) full heart into his choice, and both accept and expect that it's not always going to be rosy-dozy and that even the 100-percent-certain people will occasionally long for the days when they could sleep in and not have to tend constantly to others' needs. Grown-ups don't resent others for their own decisions, and having a child despite fears of what that involves is solely one's own decision.

Short version: Don't make babies with babies.

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